ASOS just introduced paid leave for menopause, pregnancy loss and fertility treatment

ASOS paid leave

Did you know that an estimated 900,000 women in the UK have quit their jobs because of the menopause?

As one member of the Royal Family recently pointed out, women's health issues often go completely unrecognised by employers, resulting in thousands of women every year having to leave behind careers they've spent years building.

From PMDD to struggles with fertility, menopause and pregnancy loss, women's health is often an oversight in even the most progressive of companies' paid leave policies; leaving many unsure of their rights around issues like miscarriage leave.

But one major company has just made significant progress in changing that.

ASOS, the online fashion and beauty behemoth, has announced a number of new policies offering paid leave at short notice to staffers experiencing the menopause, fertility treatment or pregnancy loss.

Staff dealing with pregnancy loss, including miscarriages and abortions, will be allowed 10 days of leave, with the policy also applying to the partners of those who were pregnant, as well as surrogate parents. Those undergoing fertility treatment, meanwhile, will be permitted five days paid leave per cycle (with no limit on the number of cycles), to ensure that appointments can be attended.

The gender-neutral policies, which have been introduced with immediate effect, are intended to support staff "going through health-related life events", and also offer up to six weeks of paid leave to staff undergoing various other health issues, including cancer treatment and gender reassignment surgery.

ASOS staff fleeing from domestic violence will also benefit from paid leave per the new policies.

"All of us face unexpected challenges in life, and sometimes these can create very difficult circumstances which mean we need to step away from or change how we work," ASOS chief executive Nick Beighton said of the company's new stance.

"We’ve launched these new policies to reassure all ASOSers that they will continue to be supported, personally and financially, throughout those difficult times. We’re here, no matter what it is and every step of the way."

The company added that its new health policies will "enable ASOSers to take the time away from work that they need, while also increasing awareness of the impact of such common life events".

The retail company, which bought the Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge brands earlier this year, follows in the footsteps of online bank Monzo, who announced paid leave for employees affected by the loss of a pregnancy back in May.

Monzo's policies currently give either partner up to 10 extra days of paid leave if they have lost a baby due to abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.

Here's hoping that it won't be long before many more businesses follow suit.

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.